Rae Mindock is a program manager for water certification at SCS global services, an international leader in third-party certification and standards development in environmental, sustainability, and food safety. As for all our interviews, we started by showing her testimonies that we collected around the world. This video shows a selection of her answers, and you can read her full interview below.
20 Questions About Water: What is your first reaction to these testimonies?
Rae Mindock: It was interesting to me that all of these people, a wide diverse range of people, understood issues associated with water pollution. Maybe not the technical aspect but they understood the implications and how it was affecting them.
20QAW: Historically, has water always been polluted?
R.M.: I think that water has always been used in a way that it can be polluted, and everyday people do not realise the impact that they have on their water sources.
20QAW: At what point did it become an issue of prime importance as it is today?
R.M.: Centuries ago, you can look into history and there were times when rivers were used for nothing more than conveyance of waste. We've made improvements since then but there still are many more improvements to continue to make.
20QAW: What kind of waste are you talking about?
R.M.: It was used typically within villages and towns; all of their sewage waste and farming agriculture waste went into the rivers. And then industries started to discharge into the rivers too.
People think within urban areas water may not be as clean, but you can go into the farming communities for example where water quality could be much worse
20QAW: What are the main sources of pollution, both from industrial and individual sides?
R.M.: There are industrial discharges which are regulated by different laws. There's also discharges associated with agriculture. People don't think about having a river or a creek in the field, but they are being discharges by how we manage our agricultural crops and animals. The other option is just urban life; people throw things in rivers and they don't even think about what they're doing.
20QAW: Are there geographical disparities in terms of water pollution?
R.M.: Unfortunately, no. I'm familiar with the North America and I don't see disparities. There are perceptions of what disparities are. People think within urban areas water may not be as clean, but then again you can go into the farming communities for example where water quality could be much worse than what you're seeing in the cities.
20QAW: What more can be done at the industry level?
R.M.: I’m familiar with the US. Industry here is regulated so there are laws, and they are enforced, that provide discharge limits for industries and say how they can use their water, whether it’d be temperature-sensitive, contamination sensitive, or even flow sensitive.
There are already restrictions in place and it's a matter of industry meeting those restrictions and achieving beyond those restrictions.
I don't have specifics examples factory by factory or industry by industry but it’s already in their minds, they are already making things like that happen.
20QAW: What more can be done at the individual level?
R.M.: We are so used to the water resources that we have that we don't think about what we're throwing down our sinks. People don't think about the waste that goes out whether it’d be any kind of drugs they use. They get rid of things by putting them in the water and that is a source of pollution. So having people realise that it is a problem would help.
There are people working on the solutions, and we will be able to solve these problems
20QAW: How do you imagine the water situation in a hundred years from now?
R.M.: Well I’m an optimist. I would like to imagine a situation where people really take the awareness that we’re spreading right now to heart, and we look at things that we can do to preserve our water resources.
20QAW: Is there a last word that would you like to tell the people of the video?
R.M.: I would like to tell them that there are solutions out there, there are people that are working on the solutions. And I think that it is going to happen, we will be able to solve these problems.